Would I have the courage to speak up?

The #MeToo moment continues. Instead of proceeding in a way that vindicates the countless individuals who have been sexually abused, raped, assaulted, and violated, we have found ourselves wading in mud passed our knees, submerging our beings at a standstill. Our hands can still clutch at our devices so we send out cries for help over social media, begging the rest of the world to wake up and see the raw, ugly reality that we have endured — pardon me — endure amid threats of violence, accusations of lying, and questions about our moral compass.

Would I be as brave as the Anita Hills or the Dr. Christine Blasey Fords of this world? Electing to bare my soul, exposing my very essence because I could not allow someone who took power from me to ascend to levels even more powerful?

Blood boiling.

It started off so innocently. A small crush on the barista at my favorite coffee shop over the summer after high school. Encouragement from friends and some unexpected bravery resulted in an exchange of telephone numbers. A time and a place to go out soon followed.

The events of the early evening are more fuzzy. We went to a movie. He did not seek my consent as he violated me in the movie theater. He pulled over in my middle school parking lot. He did not ask my consent to my body.

He told me that he was a youth leader in his church. Someday, he wanted to be a pastor.

I remember the fear. Moments of absolute paralysis. He kept repeating himself, murmuring garbage into my ear as I squirmed underneath his weight, knowing this was not how my first experience with sex would be. Why wasn’t he listening?

It seems crude now. “Let me feel your warmth.” I laughed about it later. But I wasn’t laughing that night. I said no. I said no. I said no.

Boys being boys.

Was this my fault? I was (am) a human being who craves affection, love, touch.

But I wanted those to be my choice, not his. And he didn’t allow me to make it.

Maybe he’s a youth pastor now. Would there be a list of character witnesses lined up to defend his honor? How could I prove what happened 15 years ago? There’s no physical evidence. I can’t remember if I told friends or not. I was supposed to be better than that. I was supposed to fall for men who were kind, caring, and respectful.

The bravery I have seen from my closest friends and beloved strangers is inspiring and gut-wrenching. This isn’t my only story. That moment didn’t define my self-worth or value.

But, it did remind me that I’m a survivor. And I’m not alone. The more people listen, the more people wake up, perhaps there’s hope we’ll finally get unstuck and back on the path to a different future



Things I Don’t Understand – Elevators

I’m not curious about how they function or lack understanding of their purpose [though I do have a slight fear of being stuck in one, hence one of the reasons I opt for the stairs 99% of the time — AND GOTTA GET THOSE STEPS].

No, it’s us, the people who ride them, and our bizarre culturally-conditioned behavior once inside one. While waiting for our elevator to arrive, we may be carrying on a fantastic conversation, all jovial. Then, the doors open, we step inside, and it’s like we’ve entered the chamber of our death.

Silence. Staring blankly at what often is a reflective surface. Are you looking at yourself? Or are you checking out who the person standing shoulder to shoulder with you?

Thank goodness for smart phones, am I right? The solution to abate the awkwardness of those 10 or 20 seconds of gravity-defying momentum. No signal? No problem. I am going to pretend to look busy on this here device until I hear the ding that indicates it is my turn to exit this failed social experiment.

Who decided that elevators equated isolationist policies? Why do we choose to not engage with the people riding up with us? Do we think it’s too short of a time to really get to know someone? Is it an inconvenience?

I can hear some of my introverted friends decry the “small talk” default situations like riding an elevator invite. Still, there’s something inside each of us that yearns for that acknowledgement. See me. Even a simply volley about the weather brings us back to the often forgotten reality that we are both of this world, in this world.

We just happened to be in this strange moving box together, at this present moment in time. What could happen if we broached the invisible divide?

Who knows what could transpire in those seconds. A new friendship? A future romantic interlude? An awkward exchange with one hand over our mouth to mask the 20 cloves of garlic in our lunch.

Today, I got in an elevator (28 floors seemed ambitious, especially when running late) and intentionally turned my shoulders to the center of the elevator.

Yes, I was that person. Feel my energy, other elevator riders. I see you. We don’t have to talk. It’s okay. But we can share in the silence together.

The sounds of idealism

Young and hopeful,

Dissecting public policy decisions on a Sunday train trip.

‘We know solutions’, their conversation exudes.

Buzzwords aplenty: Medicaid, Medicare,

Space X.

The privilege of Amtrak: Time to berate funding priorities for public goods on public transit.

I sit amused and reflective.

How many of these moments have I initiated or participated in?

Gucci. Versaci.

Did he mean to rhyme during his tirade against the fashion moguls, whose designer shades continue to cast long shadows on the inhumane practices their corporate values gloss over?

If we took action on a fraction that frustrates us about the world we live in,

What would the world we live in look like?

Will these two young people be the catalysts?

I look over my left shoulder: both are now on their phones. Conversation paused.

Redirected to the distraction of now.

And so it goes. The sounds of idealism succumb to our soundtrack of life.